I started my HR consulting business in 2001 and was recently asked by Kabbage, a funding resource for entrepreneurs, if I could provide advice to struggling business owners so here some tips, based on my experience.

First, do some soul searching to decide what it is you want to sell. Learn everything you can about the services or products you will be offering. I thought I wanted to have a business selling home-made bread but once I realized that would require getting up by 5 am and lifting 50 pound sacks of flour regularly, I rethought my original idea and went for something I know well and which fits in better with my busy family life, human resource consulting.

Next, write a plan for what you need to accomplish and enjoy the ride of learning something new all the time. Your plan might include setting your business up legally, getting a business checking account, launching a website, and hiring expertise.

Hire the best people you can. Your business will depend on it. Important hires might include consultants like attorneys, accountants, marketing experts, and human resource experts, to begin with.

Focus on sales. The number one reason that startups fail is due to lack of sales so put together a marketing plan to reach your target audience. Do something every week to try to bring in sales. That might include writing articles, updating your website, joining professional organizations, giving free presentations, making cold calls, and networking.

If you can save on costs by starting out from a home office, rather than renting office space, do that.  Get free help from your local Small Business Administration and SCORE.

Last, don’t give up. Starting a business takes a lot of work, some missteps, and an up and down ride with income in the beginning, but, for me, the journey has been successful in every way imaginable. I’m always learning, I get to decide, I am making money, and I enjoy what I do.